As we prepare for the final of the National Football League on Sunday, the news has broken this morning that Trevor Mortimer – who was the last remaining player from the current panel to appear for us the day we won our most recent league title, against Galway in 2001 – has retired. James Horan confirmed Trevor’s retirement in an interview in today’s Irish Times.
Looking back over the results archive here on the site, from what I can see Trevor made his senior inter-county debut for us in a Division 1B league match against Clare down in Kilmihil in February 2000. He lined out that day – as he often did for the county – at centre half-forward and scored two of our nine points tally in a match where we went under to the Bannermen by four points. Big brother Kenneth was still on the scene then as well, lining out that day in his familiar corner-back spot. Later that year, Trevor made his inter-county championship debut in what proved to be a very short summer campaign for us. In those pre-qualifier times, that championship season began and ended on the one day down in Markievicz Park, as we lost to Sligo by three points, with Trevor scoring three points from his position at top of the left.
Since then, Trevor has – aside from a number of injuries and the odd suspension – been pretty much a permanent fixture on the Mayo senior squad. By my reckoning, he played a total of 95 league and championship games for the county during his inter-county career (starting 81 of them) and scoring a very healthy total of 8-89. Aside from that league decider in 2001, Trevor also appeared in the starting fifteen in the 2004 All-Ireland final and, in a year blighted for him by injury, he also came on as a sub in the 2006 final.
Trevor was appointed Mayo captain in 2009 and lifted the Nestor Cup in July that year when, for the first time in our history, we recorded a Connacht final victory over Galway at Pearse Stadium. He was still team captain when he lined out in the league final against Cork the following year, on what ultimately proved to be an unproductive day for both himself and the county.
Few, including myself, would have seen him as a nailed-on starter for us following our ultimately disastrous 2010 championship campaign. However, it was his introduction from the bench against London in Ruislip last May that helped rescue us from what could have been our most ignominious championship defeat of all time. Reborn as a half-back – where he’d first appeared briefly back in 2007 – Trevor went on to start in all of our subsequent championship matches last year. His final match for the county was last year’s All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry.
Work pressures – and, one assumes, his specific need to work abroad at the moment – have now brought the curtain down on Trevor’s inter-county career at the age of 31. Like his brother Kenneth before him, Trevor is retiring at a relatively young age but this is a reflection, I guess, both of the time and effort required to sustain an inter-county career nowadays and the hard yards he’s put in over the last decade and more, as well, of course, as the very understandable need to pursue work commitments.
In flagging Trevor’s departure from the scene, James Horan put it well by stating that the Shrule-Glencorrib man was “a great servant” to the cause and that his departure “has left some big boots to fill”. Too true – thanks, Trevor, for all the effort expended for the county down the years and all the very best for the future.